Teething Troubles (or WordPress Woes)

  • Post category:Blog / General

I’ve had a traumatic few days, and anyone who’s ever tried to faff around with their website will understand – unless, of course, you’re one of those people who totally understand what CSS and metadata etc actually mean, in which case you may as well look away now because my incompetence and lack of comprehension about anything technical will just infuriate you.

Don’t get me wrong. WordPress is fabulous. It enables even an ancient Luddite like myself to create a space where I can post pages, update news, add links and photographs. The trouble is, I only know the most basic stuff, so it’s been pretty tricky trying to find a way to incorporate everything I wanted into this site. And, yes, I do know there are help pages and a million YouTube videos and “how-to” blogs that are just bursting with information and instructions. The trouble with those is, the minute I see the words RSS, tracking scripts, and floating navigation bar system, my eyes glaze over and by the time I wake up the laptop has gone on stand-by.

Basically, for the last few days, I’ve tried theme after theme, customized every one to within an inch of its life, added

Yes, my eyes looked just like this!

so many widgets I was shouting “widget” in my sleep – which rather offended DH for some reason –  and got thoroughly sick and tired of messing about with background photos and fonts and menus and header images. With every theme I tried there was something that just didn’t work, and I had to give up and try another one.

Finally, I tried this theme, and I really liked it.  I loved the vertical header image. I loved the font. I loved the layout. Perfect. I sorted out my widgets and my menu, added the appropriate photos, and duly clicked publish. Loved it. Everything sorted? Good. So now I could finally get back to the writing. Except…

That’s when I noticed one teensy little niggling problem with this theme. I’d added like/reblog and sharing buttons to the posts pages, but they weren’t showing up. I tried everything I could to make them appear, but to no avail.

Back to Google, where I discovered that it could be caused by various issues, none of which seemed to apply to me. I tried to look at the site on my phone, to see if they appeared when viewed on that device, but no. And that’s when I noticed something. Right next to where it says “posted on (date) by sharon in Uncategorized” at the bottom of each post is a little star and an arrow symbol.

Feeling curious, I clicked on the star, and up popped like/reblog.

As light dawned, I clicked on the arrow next to the star and lo and behold, there were the sharing buttons! Hallelujah!

And how? And why?

Except, they were very difficult to see, and who was going to know about them? I was so frustrated by the whole thing that I did something I’ve never done before in my life. I emailed WordPress for help. And they were extremely prompt with their responses, and very helpful. Except they couldn’t actually help me. Because, it seems, the issue is the theme. This theme – this perfect theme that I spent days trying to find – has the star and arrow buttons as a built-in feature, and there is no way around it. If I want my like, sharing and reblog buttons out in the open, I will have to swap themes.

I won’t tell you what I said when I read that. Instead, I will say that I nobly spent another hour faffing with various themes, and decided that absolutely no other theme is right for me at this point in time. No doubt, in a year or two, I will be bored and will look for something else. I may even be rich enough to employ a professional website builder, who knows? (Ha!) For now, though, this is how I want my site to look, so the star and arrow are a compromise. We all have to compromise about something, don’t we? I’ve watched Location, Location, Location enough times to know that. I can practically hear Phil and Kirsty lecturing me that we can’t have everything and it’s time to accept that something’s got to give.

The upshot is, I’m sticking with this theme, and I’ll just have to hope that enough readers spot those little symbols. I may just have to give them gentle reminders – like, at the bottom of every post. It’s a bit annoying, but I really can’t face another few days of theme demos. Well, look, I do have books to write, you know…

After tackling WordPress, Christmas shopping will seem restful…

Talking of which, the sun is shining, the sky is blue – and I’m going back to the WIP, where the pavements are glittering with frost, there’s the threat of snow in the air, and the houses are lit with fairy lights. Yep, I’m writing a Christmas novel, and the only theme my heroine is interested in, right now, is the colour she’s going to decorate her Christmas tree this year. I’ve left her hanging round that department store far too long. Time to rescue her. Have a great week!

Sharon xxx 

PS: If you want to like or share this post, there’s these two little buttons…

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Janice Preston

    Great blog, Sharon. I feel your pain about trying to find a theme that suits! I spent ages looking for the perfect one and finally found one where I thought I could use a different header on each page (useful for my book pages!). So I compromised on the fact that the sidebar is ‘misted’ out. Then, after all that – I found I could only use different header photos if I upgraded! And I would have done, except I then discovered I would still have to engage with copying and pasting script and other techie stuff – instructions that left me frozen in fear! One of these days I’ll go back on the search again and lose another day or three of my life 😉 In the meantime, like you, I have books to write! But great blog, and the site looks fab 🙂

    1. sharon

      Thanks, Janice. Oh, how frustrating! I would love a different header on each page, but like you, anything too technical fills me with horror. Thanks so much for popping by and commenting. On with the books! xx

  2. Helen Pollard

    I think this is a lovely theme, Sharon, although I would share your frustration about that tiny star/arrow system! I found the same with themes – I too am limited technically and find WordPress great, but each theme I liked seems to have a downside 😀 Ah, well. Good luck with the WIP!

    1. sharon

      Thanks Helen. It is soooo frustrating. There’s always something to spoil it, isn’t there? I am thinking the like and share button thing is quite a big issue, though, so will probably have to admit defeat and find something else. Drat. 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Bailey

    I am with you all the way, Sharon! OMG! I am driven nearly mental every time I have to grapple with a new technical issue. Trouble is, the people who write the instructions don’t realise us Luddites live in the stone age and don’t know the basics and kind of go into a state of zombiedom the minute they mention these RSS things – that I still don’t get by the way! Well done you getting it to this stage. Looks charming!

    1. sharon

      Thank you very much, Elizabeth, although I’m still not 100% happy with it, and this like and share button thing is driving me insane. I will probably give in and change it again before long. And, no, I have no idea what RSS is! 🙂

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